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Gone Girl | A Movie Review

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Gone Girl, based on the same titled novel written by Gillian Flynn –who also wrote the film’s screenplay–, is David Fincher’s third collaboration with music composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. If you’ve seen The Social Network or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo then you are more than familiar with the haunting masterpieces these artists have been creating over the last five years. This film takes you through what appears to be a missing person case, with the media viciously pointing their finger at Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) for the disappearance of his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike); Uncovering details that question what really took place.

[Read more…]

DC professor predicts GOP victory in OWU lecture

George Washington University professor John Sides names battleground states of the 2014 midterm election.

George Washington University professor John Sides names battleground states of the 2014 midterm election.

Ohio Wesleyan has a strong politics and government department, but they added to it with a pre-election analysis from George Washington Univ. professor and Washington Post contributor John Sides.

Like the discussion with columnist Connie Schultz, Sides’ presentation was open to the public and had a strong following from Delaware residents. Sides, like many analysts, expects the Republican Party will win the Senate majority by a narrow margin; he explained why and what impact that could have.

Sides’ cooperative forecast for the Washington Post, based on scientific analysis of polling data, gives the Republican Party 52 seats and Democrats 48, with a 67 percent probability. It involved historical data on midterm declines for the President’s party, the President’s popularity, the party base of seats in question and the candidates selected.

Sides takes questions from the audience while OWU assistant professor Jenny Holland  moderates.

Sides takes questions from the audience while OWU assistant professor Jenny Holland moderates.

After a lengthy explanation, Sides took numerous questions from the audience, starting with OWU politics professor Jenny Holland on how public dissatisfaction with the government would affect voter turnout. Sides responded that turnout is hard to predict, but dissatisfaction may be counteracted by competitive races, which Americans tend to enjoy.

Sean Kay, director of OWU’s Arneson Institute for Practical Politics, raised the question of several races expected to go Republican but are very close currently. Sides acknowledged this but said the Republicans will still likely win, but only narrowly.

Arneson Institute Director Sean Kay listens to Sides' response.

Arneson Institute Director Sean Kay listens to Sides’ response.

History professor Michael Flamm raised a question about the influence of outside money in political races as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and others; Sides said that it’s hard to tell what role this plays when a candidate wins or loses.

In the 2012 presidential election, the Obama campaign raised $1.1 billion, including $300 million from outside left-wing groups. Romney’s campaign raised $1.2 billion, around half of which was outside money as Sides put it.

“Outside money helped Romney keep pace, because he himself was not raising as much as Obama himself was raising,” Sides said.

On foreign policy, Sides predicted that President Obama would take more unilateral action should the GOP win the Senate.

“Then the question is, what’s he going to do?” Sides said. “And that’s where I don’t know the answer. I think the Middle East peace process is once again non-existent, you’re going to have this limited war in Syria and Iraq that he’s already announced.”

When asked about the effects of gridlock on the 2016 election, Sides pointed out that the leading predictions put the Republicans short of the 60 votes needed for a supermajority, which affects many areas except federal appointments and the budget.

Congress and the White House may compromise, he said, or the President could be sent laws that he would certainly veto on political grounds, causing more gridlock.

“That’s the same old political game, nothing’s happening,” said Sides.

Since the 2010 midterms, the House has largely acted in opposition to the Democratic agenda, he pointed out, but they may pursue passing policy when they have more power.

Pulitzer-winner talks politics at Ohio Wesleyan

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OWU Journalism Department Chair Paul Kostyu, with Schultz.

OWU Journalism Department Chair Paul Kostyu, with Schultz.

With the midterm elections just days away, Ohio Wesleyan University hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz for a discussion on current issues and the election with students and local residents.

She was introduced by OWU’s journalism department chair Paul Kostyu, who described Schultz as someone who is “infinitely attached to the political landscape (in Ohio) and knows it well.”

In Schultz’s 2005 award citation, the Pulitzer Prize Board calls her work “pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged.” She writes a nationally syndicated column, previously wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and is married to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Schultz discussed her views on several partisan issues while taking questions from the audience, which included a large number of female students and residents. The importance of women’s involvement in politics and the press was something she stressed repeatedly.

“I am a feminist, I don’t see how I could not be,” she said, crediting the women’s movement with allowing her to work as a national columnist. “…I get to write about politics and get to be one of the only women often on the op-ed page because of the feminist movement. I am a feminist out of gratitude, if nothing else.”

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She said that both the Democratic and Republican parties need to cultivate more young people, including women, as active members so they could remain competitive.

“You need multiple parties, you need multiple voices and multiple viewpoints to reach consensus on things and also to gain the public trust,” Schultz said.

“…When you’re talking about politics, you’re supposed to represent all of us in all our varied views and (officials) are supposed to represent the best in all of us.”

She also discussed likely candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Ohio’s Governor John Kasich. She also thinks he may be challenged by Republicans including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

On the Democratic side, she expects former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run but named New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and potentially Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders as candidates who may run if Clinton does not.

“You’ve got two open fields, this is going to be quite a season,” Schultz said.

She said definitively that Sherrod Brown would not be running for the Democratic nomination, and described how challenging the position of President must be.

“There’s a reason they go gray so quickly, we have no idea,” she said. “Every day, they are told about threats to Americans around the globe. That’s how they start their day.”

Schultz takes questions from the audience.

Schultz takes questions from the audience.

Local resident Marianne Gabel said Schultz’s program was the kind of discussion politicians should have with voters but often don’t.

“I thought she nailed the issues pretty well,” Gabel said, adding that the program went well.

“You’ve got a real breadth of the community out here, all ages, students,” she said. For Gabel, a lawyer, the message about women in politics was particularly important.

“I think women in politics can have more of that compassion, more of that understanding of life experiences of people who aren’t at the top and empowered.”

Ohio Wesleyan student Lauren Rump, a Cleveland native, has followed Schultz’s writing since it appeared in the Plain Dealer and was very excited to see her in person.

“I really like that she was saying that there needs to be women on both sides involved in politics, like Democrat women and Republican women, and independent women and Green Party women,” Rump said. “We’re only more informed if women are involved on all sides and everyone’s opinion is valued.”

Schultz meets with members of the OWU Advancement Office, including Pablo Villa (far right), a former member of Sherrod Brown's campaign.

Schultz meets with members of the OWU Advancement Office, including Pablo Villa (far right), a former member of Sherrod Brown’s campaign.

Adventures in Facepainting

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This past week, Delaware Grace Brethren Church hosted its annual Fall JAMfest in the church’s backyard.  The event features inflatables for kids to play on, free food (yum!), cookie decorating, Trunk or treat, and face painting.

I’ve volunteered as a face painter at Fall JAMfest for several years now, and I’ve got quite a few fond memories from the event.  A few years ago, I sat at the face painting table chatting with the other young lady who was volunteering, and a couple bald gentlemen approached us.  They asked if we could paint spiders on their heads, and so we did.  I have to say, it was probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever done, but it sure was hilarious.  The best thing was to watch the guys run away laughing at each other, and showing their friends and kids the spiders painted on their heads.  Another time, a young boy dressed as a baseball player asked me to paint a bat on his cheek.  I thought he meant a baseball bat.  It wasn’t until the following morning that it hit me that he probably meant the creature that sleeps upside down and lives in caves.

With these experiences in mind, I drove out to the church with my little sister (AKA Batman) in tow.  Then I sat down at the face painting table for a good three hours.  Kids are funny.  Most of them will sit down across from me and stare at me, without a single inkling of an idea of what they want on their face.  I then have to search my mind for ideas, which usually end up being something along the lines of, “Butterfly, heart, pumpkin, bat, spider…” Eventually I trail off, and hope that was good enough.  It’s great when the kids know what they want, though.  One cute little red head plopped down and announced, “I want a kitty nose and whiskers, and then one butterfly on each cheek.”  Probably one of the more interesting ones I got was, “Give me a blue mustache and goatee.”  I also enjoyed joking with one of the pastors that the Steeler’s logo on his cheek would definitely look better with glitter.  Because everything is better with glitter.  You want a butterfly? Glitter.  Spider?  Glitter.  Cat? Of course you need some glitter!

As I painted a snowflake on a small Elsa’s face, I heart her parent remark, “These people must be so patient.  I could never do this.”  Which got me to thinking about it.  Like I said, I’ve done face painting for JAMfest for about five years now, and it never seemed like something that was very difficult.  Sure, I’ve butchered several butterflies and Batman symbols, and I’ve tried to paint ponies when I just can’t.  When I thought about it, the hardest thing wasn’t the art itself.  You don’t need a lot of artistic talent to paint a pumpkin or a butterfly on a kid’s face.  The hardest thing is having a steady hand, and the patience to go slowly because the child’s a moving, living, breathing canvas.  But I feel like it’s something anyone could do.  How much you enjoyed it would be another question.  I can easily understand how the time could drag by for some.  For me, those three hours always fly by, and it’s six pm before I know it. It’s a rewarding thing to do.  When I’m done painting a child’s face so he looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and he’s so excited, it’s worth it.

By five thirty, all the kids were lining up for Trunk or Treat, and it was time for us to clean up the face painting table.  Glancing over at the lines of kids, I couldn’t help but notice how adorable they were, all lined up and excited to get some candy.  There’s just something joyous and young in the atmosphere.  Everything’s all right, the world is full of wonder, and hope.  Through  the eyes of a child the world is a wondrous and fantastic place.

DGBC hosts JAMfest every October, and I speak from experience when I say it’s a great free and fun event to go to.  Definitely check it out next year!

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Ghost Towns in Delaware County

The Forgotten Places of Delaware, Ohio…

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Have you seen this Ghost Town?

Have you seen this Ghost Town?

According to author and researcher Rick Helwig, there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 ghost towns in Ohio.  Helwig, the director of the Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, spoke to a large crowd during a program put on by the Delaware County Historical Society at the First Presbyterian Church.

Helwig runs the center from his home [Read more…]

Delaware City Council Notes: JEDD contract with Berkshire, Roops Brothers Bar Ownership

The first half of city council’s October 27 meeting was swift, as they cleared through most items as fast as possible due to the lack of power. The second half was largely focused on discussion of Ordinance 14-102, which was passed and authorizes City Manager Tom Homan to enter a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with Berkshire Township to create a Tanger-Simon outlet mall.

City council carries on business despite the darkness.

City council carries on business despite the darkness.

The vote was largely in favor – with the exception of At-Large Councilman Kent Shafer, who was excused, and Third Ward Councilman Joe DiGenova, who voted against taking action on the second reading without Shafer being present.

Related: “Delaware City Council nears JEDD deal with Berkshire on mall

City Attorney Darren Shulman explains the details of the JEDD contract.

City Attorney Darren Shulman explains the details of the JEDD contract.

The city will receive a four percent administrative fee that the city will receive first from income tax revenue, to offset the cost of administering taxes in the JEDD. There will also be a JEDD board, which will receive one percent. Berkshire Township will get 60 percent of the rest and Delaware city, 40 percent.

The JEDD board will govern the area and will have three members – one appointed by the city, one by the township, and one by both together. When businesses fill the JEDD they will get a fourth member and workers will receive a fifth to represent them.

Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker (right) reads information by lamplight.

Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker (right) reads information by lamplight.

During the discussion among city officials, power was restored to the building and downtown Delaware; no one from the community came forward during the public hearing preceding the vote.

Council members hold the second half of their meeting in the light.

Council members hold the second half of their meeting in the light.

In other areas covered before the JEDD discussion, the city council was introduced to five new city employees who’ve recently begun working with the Economic Development and Public Works departments. The council also approved the transfer of the Roop Brothers Bar’s liquor license from an LLC owned by Al Roop to one owned by Joshua Moore and Mika Sparks.

“I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve considered for me and my brother at Roops,” Al told the council.

“…I think the city and myself needed some new guys (who are) 20 years younger to carry on the legacy of Roops in an up-to-date form and these are the guys. I thank you all.”

Small fire causes OWU building evacuation

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Dozens of Ohio Wesleyan students received unexpected time out of class after an apparent fire within a piece of laboratory equipment set off smoke alarms in the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center.

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Chief John Donahue of DFD meets with OWU PS Director Bob Wood, right, and Inspector Richard Morman.

The Delaware Fire Department responded with two engines and other vehicles but no ambulances; Chief John Donahue personally visited the scene. The Delaware Police Department was not on site, but Ohio Wesleyan Public Safety officers including Director Bob Wood were present.

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Firefighters exit the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center

Several firefighters entered the building wearing fire-resistant coats but did not appear to be using face masks or their oxygen tanks, while others entered without coats. Other individuals who appeared to be assisting the firefighters did not wear protective gear as well.

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Firefighters opened the scientific oven, then closed it when smoke came out.

The firefighters received applause from the students when they wheeled out a scientific oven, the source of the fire. It was then looked at OWU professors, Public Safety officers and Inspector Mark Huston of DFD.

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The fire occurred around 2:00 p.m., and re-entry began before 3:00 p.m., though the doors were left open to clear out the building.

Delaware City Council nears JEDD deal with Berkshire on mall and other Council news

Kevin Jennings, director of development for Tanger Outlets, speaks to the City Council.

Kevin Jennings, director of development for Tanger Outlets, speaks to the City Council.

City of Delaware, Berkshire Township and Tanger / Simon Work On Economic Of Building.

The city of Delaware neared final approval of months-long discussions to establish, with Berkshire Township, a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) as part of the creation of a Tanger/Simon outlet mall off Rt. 36/37 and by I-71.

Sunbury Village, which originally requested Delaware join the JEDD with them, backed out of the negotiations with little explanation provided to Delaware or Berkshire officials.

Related: “Council Approves Liberty Casting Expansion, JEDD Negotiation and More.”

Kevin Jennings, Director of Development for Tanger Outlets, came to the Council meeting from North Carolina, where the company’s central office is located.

He said that if progress is made soon, the groundbreaking could be in the spring of next year, with a construction period of 12-13 months. They project the outlet to provide $131 million in annual sales, and have over 70 percent of the interior space filled with committed vendor companies already.

Fourth Ward councilman Andrew Brush said he’d been told the outlet would create 525 local jobs and $100,000 to $128,000 in revenue for the city.

Creating the mall will require significant traffic improvements – Jennings said they’d conducted a traffic study that put the cost at around $33 million, but are prepared to provide $16 million.

Second Ward councilwoman Lisa Keller noted that there’s already traffic issues, and that it’s not Tanger/Simon’s responsibility to fix them but this could help.

 

Berkshire Trustee Chairman Bill Holtry and Administrator Jeff George were at the meeting as well; Holtry said he hoped this could lead to further development and potentially additional JEDDs.

Public hearings on the mall will be held by both Delaware city and Berkshire Township on Monday, Oct. 27.

Fire Department Chief John Donahue describes the need for three new ambulances.

Fire Department Chief John Donahue describes the need for three new ambulances.

Other topics of discussion included a request from the Delaware Fire Department for three paramedic ambulances, to upgrade and standardize their existing fleet, and supplemental funds to repair damage to the city airport’s maintenance hangar roof; both were approved.

During the section for public comment, resident Traci Cromwell took time to inform Council of the actions of two local police officers, Rita Mendel and Adam Graham.

Mendel – who plans to retire next year – is involved in Safety Town and the Citizen’s Police Academy, as well as regular patrol duty, Cromwell said. Several years ago, Cromwell and Mendel were volunteering together at the Delaware Arts Festival, and she saw Mendel be approached by a number of local teenagers.

Many remembered Mendel from their time at Safety Town, while another reported to Mendel that she had recently been sexually assaulted. Cromwell was struck by this, and Mendel’s work in helping a developmentally disabled resident find guardianship and day care services that allow her to thrive.

Cromwell describes how Officer Graham responded to a dangerous situation.

Cromwell describes how Officer Graham responded to a dangerous situation.

Cromwell also discussed a recent case involving Officer Adam Graham, a third shift officer who responded to a man with a gun by his side. Graham drew his own weapon but did not fire, ordering the man to drop his weapon. He finally did, and after Graham apprehended the suspect it was determined that the gun was a toy and the man was trying to commit suicide by getting Graham to shoot him.

“The city of Delaware, Ohio can be proud at the training and clear headed thinking of our officers,” Cromwell said. “This incident could have ended in the loss of a life.”

Cromwell’s comments come amid ongoing protests within Ohio over the death of John Crawford III, who was killed by police in Beavercreek while holding an unpackaged toy rifle in a Walmart store. A grand jury declined to indict the officers involved.

Linda Mathews of the Parks and Rec. Board receives a proclamation from Mayor Riggle.

Linda Mathews of the Parks and Rec. Board receives a proclamation from Mayor Riggle.

On an entirely positive note, Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle also took time to honor Linda Mathews with a city proclamation for her service on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Dave Berwanger and Chris Fink also received proclamations but could not attend.

 

The Covert Psychological Weapon Inside High School Sports

Hey, remember that time?

We went to your high school’s basketball game together as old buddies and, even though it was a sleeper of a matchup, we decided to go. We hardly had a chance to get together and were looking for something to do. I remember the atmosphere of that game as we walked into your stoic yet historic high school gym. In its glory days, it had to be something beautiful, but it still  had a weird romantic sense draped over it like a fine, invisible coating of primer on the roughly whitewashed walls. I think you were wearing your letter jacket, trying to look pretty as the senior girls were looking on from the ever-nearing student section. We stepped down those little steps entering the room, beholding the barbaric matchup between us as we rehashed an old-yet-timeless joke in small conversation and paid for admission. You have to remember hearing the sharp screech of the players making sharp turns on the floor in pursuit of the bouncing, thump-producing basketball. If you close your eyes, you could probably see the ball swishing through the net as we looked for a smart angle to dart to the bleachers, which were across the floor from where we entered.

It was a packed house, we realized, as we neared the stands. Everyone was sitting down, having a grand social time. I mean, as if these people didn’t see each other enough, we entered into a sea full of chatter as I sat beside some of your friends in the student section. Conversations ranged widely and sporadically – “Where should we eat afterwards?”… and… “That test was so hard today!” were a few of the expressions I caught as I met some of your friends. We talked it up! What a fun time that was.

Wait… Who ended up winning the game?

Maybe that’s why you don’t remember that game… because it was never really about the game in the first place. I think we may have been inadvertently conspiring in a growing epidemic among American teenagers. I mean, are high school sporting events really just social events?

One may think of the players playing and the gyms housing the competition. Does playing in a team’s “home” gym aid their state of mind as opposed to visiting an opposing school?

A skeptic may point to the simplicity of sports which presents itself regardless of circumstances — Two teams, one victor. The beautiful thing about sports remains, though, in the fact that high school sports most certainly double as an entertainment form for various onlookers, fans, parents, and friends sitting on the bleachers. Since players and spectators are all of the same glorious species, support or rejection from these spectators should vastly affect a team’s mindset, an element seen time and time again in every level of sports. Logically, this type of audial and visual influence would undoubtedly affect the quality of play by the team in the crosshairs, an element that would directly affect the game’s outcome.

So, following this logic, why didn’t you and I take up the gauntlet for our stake of the game? In our fallen world, both you and I attended a game where we didn’t even know who was playing, let alone who won. The hypothetical, aforementioned gym we were both in was dead enough to allow cob webs to form on the ceiling.

Something deadly to the game exploded in a deafening case of demure yet extravagant chatter, like little cockroaches scattering through a ruin that was recently eradicated of all human life.

Everyone should remember the sound of a crowd roaring as the iconic Alan Parsons Project tune “Sirius” blasted over speakers as the hearty, memorable announcer proclaimed the names of the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup, creating an atmosphere of true fire and wrapping up the festivity with the introduction of Mr. Michael Jordan. Those fans were keyed in, screaming their loudest as the lights were dimmed. Of course, those people paid a lot more cash to get into those games, and the Chicago Bulls had some spotlights and a video board, but something tells me that the game of basketball played at its purest does not just keep people ecstatic. Those games were true experiences.

At Delaware Christian, the high school which this writer attends, our gym is relative to the size of our school – small. Big enough to sit around 225-250 people or so  at its fullest, it has two speakers hoisted from the ceiling facing the bleachers, controlled by a mobile system that almost resembles a DJ stand that plugs into a rather aged connection in the wall leading to the speakers. The mobile control panel opens up to reveal a soundboard with standard microphone and sound inputs – the usual. Sometimes, while playing music or speaking too loud, the system will cut out for some odd reason, signaling maybe a short in the connection. With the connection shorting at weird and, usually, the worst times, the operator must finagle the connection directly or adjust the level of bass or treble through the equalizer on the sound board to try to eliminate the problem. I have used this system regularly over the last three years to announce sports games in our school, and from every aspect, we need to just air out the obvious: We are not the old-time Chicago Bulls.

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PHOTO CREDIT ~ Delaware Christian Athletics Facebook

Though, without arrogance, I would confidently and unabashedly say that Delaware Christian’s game experience and production are second to few.

1779037_785573718124825_1482184392_nWait, before you scoff at me and hit the dreaded red “X” in the top right corner or this page, consider this: state-of-the-art audio technology doesn’t guarantee state-of-the-art psychology, and average audio technology doesn’t guarantee average psychology.

That is all that this is, right? Psychology at its purest – How do you create a slight home-court advantage for your team,  trigger the emotions of the spectators, and hide those two goals all at the same time to make for a fun, memorable overall experience?

That’s what the Chicago Bulls had right back in the day. They had it all – the right music, the right announcer, the right colors on the spotlights, the right timing, the right players, which made for the right fans. They had everything state-of-the-art and delivered on that standard. The Bulls won multiple championships during that era.

What if, though, the psychology behind high school sports could be innovative in a different ways?

 

What if…

…the role of an announcer was taken seriously?

I contend, from experience, that no better asset can be held by a high school sports announcer than pure “passion”. That may be the psychology inside the psychology – One cannot sell a product to someone else without believing in it himself. Experience will come, decision making speed will come, and general fluidity and comfort-ability will come as with anything worked on in life. I contend that an announcer would be one step ahead of the game to truly treat his job like a “job” and work to be the best at it.

…preparation was next to perfection?

With passion comes thought, and with thought comes preparation. Unlike any other job, a sports announcer can manipulate the circumstances to fit his needs best, with the main goal of producing a great performance. With passion should come the need for preparation, a step which will grow an announcer the most. Personally, I prefer to prepare for games by preparing my music the night before. Over about six years of announcing, I have built up a rather large personal music library as cheaply as I have been able to, nabbing deals that pop up regularly on internet stores such as ITunes and Google Play. From that library, I pick out about fifty songs out of my library to put in a playlist that will fit the coming game as much as possible. If the opponent is Tree of Life Christian School, for example, one of the songs I pick may be Trees by Twenty One Pilots, a song that can be explicitly used within context for that matchup. I try to pick a playlist that will not only keep the audience tuned into the game and the players pumped up, but that could tell a story, an element that I try to implant into games to leave people thinking about lyrics or tunes in songs after the night is over. Going to a Christian school, I have the privilege of making some of those lyrics reflective of my faith, for example, to make people think, within the context of the game, differently then they would without music and announcing.

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Shure 55SH Series 2 Microphone – Shure Stock Photo

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Google Nexus 7

One could also be preparative in other ways, such as purchasing personal equipment to ensure maximum performance on the announcer’s end. Personally, I bring three things along with me to every game I announce: my Shure 55SH Series 2 microphone, a Google Nexus 7 tablet (for music), and a cord to connect that to the sound system. These instruments have served me beautifully in aiding the effort to produce a good performance on the production end.

Most importantly, though, preparation is most key in word pronunciation and preparation for speaking as an announcer. At Delaware Christian, I play the in-game role of both announcer and DJ/Music Guy most of the time, so this sometimes gets overlooked, but credibility can’t be ruined faster than from a mispronounced name. An announcer needs to be sensitive to name pronunciations!

Overall, the reason for preparation is not self-centered in the least bit, but, rather, to do one’s best to give the home team a little mental advantage and for the onlookers to think and have fun all at the same time.

…game production was a team sport?

It is rather unfair the credit the announcer can get comparable to everything going on behind the scenes of a good operation. Most of the time, the announcer purely serves as a pretty cover for rather jumbled numbers behind the scenes. The people that work towards a better game experience by keeping score, gathering lineups, keeping track of little stats and details, setting up the technical equipment beforehand, and suggesting new material and music for the game are the people who deserve to be in the spotlight. Just as no one person has ever won anything in a team sport, an announcer who tries to do it all will fail miserably (I know from experience!). When a team comes in who knows what they are doing, that plays their designed positions to the best of their ability off of the floor, it frees up (notably) announcer to try new things and make the game on the hardwood more enjoyable for everyone looking on and participating.

 

These what ifs have become Delaware Christian’s why nots. I believe we are a step ahead of the game. Though we will never be perfect, as no one can, we can work to help our organization’s face and performance in the subtle, yet extravagant ways. We put these and more into practice each game and are constantly looking for different ways to aid the spectator’s feelings and mindset about the game at hand, which, in turn, extremely affects the mindset of the players and, therefore, the overall quality of the experience.

You will remember the next game we go to, my friend.

 

The Maze Runner Film Review

Fast paced, gut wrenching teen dystopian science fiction, The Maze Runner, directed by Wes Ball and adapted from the book by James Dashner, was a pretty darn good movie.  With incredible scenery, terrifying creatures, and interesting characters, this movie will most likely keep you on the edge of your seat.

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The Maze Runner begins suddenly, like jumping into a pool of ice water.  It yanks you right in as hero Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) awakens in an elevator.  When the doors open, he finds himself in the Glade, among many other boys who are all trapped there, including Newt (Thomas Sangster), Alby (Aml Ameen), Minho (Ki-Hong Lee), among several others.  Surrounding the Glade is the daunting Maze, filled with the perilous Grievers—terrifying monsters that are part creature part robot.  The film follows the Gladers as they try desperately to find a way out of the ominous Maze.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the acting.  Generally, there was great portrayal of character.  Even when the actors didn’t say anything, their faces spoke volumes.  I remember watching characters in the background who were so expressive I found myself mentally writing in dialogue.  The combination of good writing and acting made it more enjoyable.

The plot drives this story well.  It’s fast paced and pressing, constantly moving the story forward, and drawing the audience in.  I think the only downside to this is that we don’t get as much character development on the more minor characters.  Chuck (Blake Cooper) is not developed as much as he was in the book and is therefore less sympathetic.  I was also disappointed that Theresa’s (Kaya Scodelario) character wasn’t as developed, and kind of thrown in at the end.  As a result, her character seemed blank to me.

As far as book adaptations go, The Maze Runner does a fantastic job.  The Maze itself literally looks just like the cover of the book, so it will not disappoint.  The movie keeps the main idea and plot, while skipping through and changing some smaller things so the story can plausibly fit into a two hour film.  The biggest differences are toward the end.  There were a few things they left out that I was glad they did.  For example, Theresa’s telepathic connection with Thomas came off as cheesy to me in the books, and in this film it was omitted.  I confess that it has been a few years since I read the book, and the film adaptation might be more vexing if you’ve just poured over each page, memorizing every plot point and line of dialogue.

The Maze Runner is definitely geared more toward young adults, but I think adults would enjoy it too.  There’s no real romantic subplot, and it lacks that trope of the dystopian genre, so it’s not super cheesy in that regard.  This is not a movie for little ones, as it is action packed, intense, and the Grievers would be pretty terrifying.  Additionally, there’s a smattering of mild swear words, some general violence and intense scenes.

This story is a great story.  It is fun, it’s interesting, it’s driven, and it’s different.  There are some great characters, wonderful acting, and the sets were phenomenal.  Even though it differs from the book, the movie is a pretty accurate portrayal of the plot.  I look forward to next year when the sequel, The Scorch Trials, comes to theaters.